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Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Cold Mountain Winter AleHighland Cold Mountain Winter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

555 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 555
Reviews: 297
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 13.18%
Wants: 68
Gots: 48 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Highland Brewing visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: RBorsato on 11-25-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 555 | Reviews: 297 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Daktah
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep copper with a small white head that left good lacing. Smell was almost all vanilla, and a ton of it. Maybe a little honey or caramel in there - something sweet. The taste was more vanilla, with a small bite of spice at the end. Medium bodied and lightly carbonated, it really is a good sipping beer, especially as it warms up. Almost no alcohol taste and overall extremely smooth.

A great and very different winter seasonal and a perfect beer for limited release - delicious and season-appropriate, and sweet and spicy enough that I wouldn't want to drink it regularly.

Daktah, Dec 10, 2012
Photo of flexabull
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of Loki. Thank you very much!

Cool looking big 1 liter bottle. Pours with a nice clear copper color, and a good head.

Aromas are faint, but what I do notice are some sweet and creamy notes.

Flavors are creamy with a lot of spice flavors, with vanilla being the most prominent. There is also a slightly smokey and apple like quality to this as well. Very interesting and flavorful beer.

Mouthfeel is good, maybe a touch light for my tastes though.

Very drinkable beer. Well made, and very interesting. I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Certainly worth a try.

flexabull, Mar 16, 2007
Photo of johnnnniee
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in trade from KarrHeel03, thanks for the opportunity.
Pours a clear reddish amber color with a stingy white head that recedes quickly but laces the sides quite nicely. Smells of sweet malts and spices. I pick up some cocoa, brown sugar, molasses, plums or prunes, and a touch of alcohol. There's a subtle spice in the nose that is quite non-descript but really pleasant. Taste is sweet brown sugar and alcohol up front. Dark fruits and a tease of hop bitterness on the tongue mid way through. Medium-dry sweet malty sugary finish. Ample carbonation, slick syrupy mouthfeel, medium bodied brew. I really enjoyed this one on this cold snowy day. I think it all comes together really well.

johnnnniee, Jan 20, 2010
Photo of rustymoore
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber from the 22 oz. bottle. Nice head, minimal lacing.

Smells wonderful...vanilla and alcohol dominate with spices such as cinnamon. Tastes almost as good as the smell. The vanilla really sets this one apart. Flowery aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is somewhat watery but sweet.

Could easily drink several in a sitting. Highly recommended.

rustymoore, Jan 08, 2010
Photo of Onenote81
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was the third installment of City Bev's Freakin' Firkin Friday. Had a pint at the store yesterday. Pours a hazy brown-tinted copper. A small off-white head caps it off. Faint lace sticks around. The nose is potent with strong notes of vanilla, nutmeg, toffee, toasted pecans. Fantastic nose.

Extremely smooth, creamy mouthfeel, as was expected with the cask. Carbonation level is minimal. Perfect sipper. Flavor profile mirrors the nose somewhat with vanilla, cinnamon, sweet malts. The spices are more muted in this version of the beer, but this is still a splendid winter dessert brew. Perfect to sip on a crisp, cold evening.

*Note: This is the first beer that I have tried from bottle, tap, and cask.

Onenote81, Jan 08, 2011
Photo of Gyle41386
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass.

Pours a dark brown and amber color with crimson highlights. A finger of tan head retains pretty well and leaves behind some nice lacing.

Malty nose with lots of spices and vanilla. Maybe some cocoa and orange peel, as well.

Pretty sweet flavor. Milk chocolate, toffee, caramel, vanilla. The spices aren't as pronounced as they are in the aroma, although they come out a bit with some warmth. Maybe a little bit of hop bitterness in the finish.

Lighter body than I expected, but it's still easily medium. Dry finish. Incredibly smooth and easy drinker. Plush feel. Absolutely no alcohol detected. I'm definitely going back to buy the 1 liter swingtop version.

Gyle41386, May 11, 2009
Photo of AlexJ
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark amber red pour with a fluffy beige head that retains pretty well and streaks my tulip with lace.

Aroma is a comforting mix of chewy malts, molasses, vanilla, light spice, pine, and citrus hops.

Flavor starts off with chewy caramel and brown sugar, dark fruits, dark moist bread, and leads to strong notions of vanilla bean and subtle spice. As it warms the sweet vanilla flavor really stands out, yum. Pine and citrus hops provide a pleasantly bitter trailing finish. Well balanced and very tastey.

Body is medium, or just shy of. Smooth and very creamy texture. A very solid Winter Warmer and one i will be going back to.

AlexJ, Dec 09, 2005
Photo of SLeffler27
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear, dark copper with carbonation. A one-inch creamy manila head lasts a while leaving a fine coating of lace.

There is lots of caramel malt with sweet tea and brown sugar. Warming brings out cocoa. More warming intensifies cocoa.

This one is very similar to sweet tea on entry, powdered hot chocolate mix immediately follows. The finish is short and modest.

A medium body with soft, prickly carbonation and no alcohol. This one has light astringency and a smooth texture.

This is a good beer for a cool afternoon. Have a couple while relaxing.

This one is far better if allowed to warm!

SLeffler27, Apr 29, 2012
Photo of waldowin
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poures a crystal-clear dark ruby with a light tan head. The head is constantly in flux, and shifting and bubbling even as it slowly fades to a thin capper. Minimal lacing.

Smells of vanilla, oranges, and a hint of bourbon.

First taste was an immediate "Woah, what the heck?" This beer is vastly unlike any beer I've had before. Hints of coriander, and full flavors of vanilla, oak, and bourbon come through. Almost a madarin glaze finish to this beer. Very smooth and light, with a light crisp hopping at the tail end. Very sweet, and fairly malty, with not too many hops. For a malthead like me, this is great. Would go excellently with duck, or maybe goose, something rich and hearty to pair of the lightness and sweetness of this brew.

Mouthfeel is light, and smooth, if not terribly big. Leaves a nice slightly tart sweetness in the mouth.

This is a very smooth and light beer (if you haven't gathered that already), and extremely easy to drink. Wish I knew the ABV, as there's just no way to tell based on taste alone.

Many thanks to merlin48 for this very hard to find beer!

waldowin, Dec 09, 2005
Photo of ppoitras
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1L bottle from Secret Santa ninjaworm. Wax sealed swing-top. Cool.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" light tan head above a deep copper brew. Head shrinks pretty quickly, but still eaves a coating of uneven bubbles, and lacing is average. Aroma is sweetly of malts, coupled with a seemingly peat component. Not smoky, more of an earthy contribution there, maybe their yeast strain, never had anything from Highland before. Taste is a combination of sweet maltiness, earthy tones, and possibly a vanilla bean or two. Certainly a lot going on here, but it all comes together nicely. Mouthfeel is good, and drinkability is excellent. Nice offering here, with a cool package and a pleasing product.

ppoitras, Jan 15, 2005
Photo of davey101
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber into a DFH signature glass. Thanks to sommersb.

A - Pours a clear dark red body. Very attractive off white head with large bubbles. Nice lacing and retention.

S - Light toffee and bready malts, nutty with a touch of fruit and spice. A bit muddled but quite nice for a winter warmer.

T - Clean caramel and bready malts with some faint spices and berries. Nice combination of flavors.

M - Medium bodied with nice carbonation. Highly drinkable.

O - Not generally a style I go after, but this was a very well made beer. I noticed it has hazelnut, raspberry, and cranberry extracts as well as cinnamon and vanilla listed on the ingredient list. Its a bit hard to discern each ingredient but they do work together to produce a nice taste of winter.

davey101, Jan 22, 2013
Photo of planetscott
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love the appearance of this beer. Clear ruby and garnet color. Not much aroma. Taste is different for a winter warmer and a nice change of pace. Fruity, but not in a Belgian sense. I taste pears and very faint vanilla. Mouth feel is not thick like most winter warmers....Again a nice change. Good drink ability. Not great as it is somewhat sweet.

A decent, yet different winter warmer.

planetscott, Dec 30, 2010
Photo of aubuc1
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber poured in to a goblet

Pours a deep brown with ruby glimmering and a thinning tan head.

Smells like a malty, bready, plummy, spicey brown ale.

Bright taste of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg), fruit, malt, and a chalky yeast. Surprising taste of chocolate in there.

Good mouthfeel, and easier to drink than I expected.

A very good beer from a good brewer.

aubuc1, Dec 26, 2008
Photo of jbphoto88
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A pretty brew the color of stained cherry. A clear garnet red with a lovely tan cap that fades slowly. In the glass this winter ale looks pretty enough to hang on the tree.

The nose is plain but satisfying. Mostly malts with hints of spice and lightly hopped. Pleasant and not overpowering this is a beer that can't wait to get into.

Taste is fantastic for a winter ale. Big emphasis on the malts but with a balanced hop and subtle spice to "class" things up a little. The finish even goes towards a cream soda vibe. Interesting and satisfying.

A light carbonation goes a long way with this brew. It really let's the sweet malt flavors shine and doesn't distract with too much bite. A smooth medium bodied brew that is delicious and fun to drink even in the middle of summer like I'm doing. A great brew and worth discovering for yourself.

jbphoto88, Jul 02, 2011
Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bomber to to a snifter. The liquid is a dark rust with good carbonation. The head is nice a thick and fat 2 fingers of dark tan fluff that leaves some nice lace.

The smell is dark thick tosted caramel with hints of spices.

The taste follows. pretty nice. The spices are lightly done and only and accent. The dark caramel is great yet slightly sweeter that I like. Quite a nice brew and worth a try to be sure. I would be glad to have a couple of these each year.

The mouthfeel is about medium, with good carbonation.

The drink ability is very good. I real nice top notch example of this diverse style. Prosit MK

MuenchenerKindl, Feb 11, 2008
Photo of scarfield
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 1 liter bottle and poured into several Goblets. Shared with a friend who received it in a trade. Amber as it is poured and Little head yields minimal lacing. No taste particularly stands out. The predominant flavor is that of bitter nuts, caramel, and vanilla. More malty than hoppy. Would prefer a bit more lingering taste from this beer, but still a good one to spend an evening with.

scarfield, May 19, 2010
Photo of Tiklmelmo
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big ass (1L) flip top bottle poured into a large tulip glass. Received from gford217 on SS09. Thanks Grant!

A - Clear, dark caramel / amber with minimal off-white head.

S - Big malty vanilla candy on the nose. Maybe a very slight hint of spice, but smells more like nice english barleywine.

T - Again lots of malt, but some earthy hops in the background. Slight hints of spice (nutmeg?), but definitely not heavily spiced like some winter warmers. A tad more bitter than I'd like, but overall good.

M - Pretty good, but a hair thin / dry. I could go for a hair more residual sweetness to balance the bitterness.

D - Not sure the ABV but certainly doesn't smack of alcohol. Assuming by the style that this is in the 8-10% range, it's certainly quite drinkable.

I normally am not a huge fan of winter warmers because they're overly spiced. This one is definitely not one of those beers. Like I said previously, it reminds me more of an english barleywine. Very enjoyable and well balanced. First beer I've had from Highland and I enjoy it well enough to drink the whole big bottle.

Tiklmelmo, Dec 29, 2009
Photo of cavedave
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks again, mrandypandy, another sparkler courtesy of you!

Pours a clear dark amber topped by a finger of near white foam. Excellent lace, and a bubbly skim remains through the glass.

What a nose, full aroma of caramel, spice, tart yeast, and hints of raisin bread.

Taste is unlike the nose. The first two sips tasted very full of spice, as it warmed the caramel and tart estery notes, and toasty raisin bread hints balanced extremely well. It finishes juicy with a nice hint of citrusy bitter to stay on the palate. This is the finest winter warmer I've tasted, the first I've really enjoyed.

Mouthfeel is light, despite the medium body of this, and the carbonation is medium, and perfect. Very clean finish, no spicy resins on the palate at all.

Drinkability is marvelous, a refreshing, delicious, easy to quaff brew.

Impression: I would get this every year, but Highland comes here not.

cavedave, Mar 14, 2010
Photo of brewcrew76
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle

A - Slightly hazy auburn with a thin tan head that disappeared immediately.

S - Malty with butterscotch, roasted nuts, cocoa, dark fruits, raisins and maple syrup. Hints of spice in the background but I can't pick out what exactly.

T - Cocoa, dark fruits, raisins, cinnamon, maple syrup, bready all with an herbal tea likeness. Reminds me of christmas cake or gingerbread. Very fitting for a holiday beer.

M - Medium body and smooth which creates a soft creamyness.

D - A very good winter warmer that truly tastes like a holiday beer. A little much for me to drink more than a bottle but would make a nice sipper by a warm fire.

brewcrew76, Jul 01, 2007
Photo of Oxymoron
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As compared to a warm mountain in the winter? Pours a mostly clear chestnut brown color with some reddish hues through out. A soft off white head with good head and retention though limited lacing.

The nose is mostly malty with hints of spice. To start there is a big chocolate note that has more of a candy like aroma versus a chocolate malt. Some minor grainy notes as well. There is a distinct bready notes but this is emphasized by the spice notes. Mostly cinnamon, cloves and a touch of nutmeg. The spice is light though. Some yeasty note but not overly off.

The taste is similar, but the chocolate notes come out more if that is possible. The chocolate malt comes out a bit more as the candy notes back off. This is helped by the mouthfeel. Some lactic almost milky notes as well. A touch of astringency on the backend. A bit muddled beyond the choc notes but there is a nutty finish. The spice comes out a bit more versus the nose as well. Cloves comes out more but noticeable cinnamon and nutmeg. The yeast is noticeable as well and leaves a filmy finish.

The body is between moderate and full. Leaves a malty finish, but isn't too sweet. Nor does it have that under attenuated feel. Very nice malty and a light carbonation to back it. Overall a good beer with some minor faults.

Oxymoron, Dec 28, 2008
Photo of SilentSabre
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a little darker, and much sweeter than I expected. Poured a crystal clear dark orange bronze colour. Big soapy frothy khaki coloured head hung around for a while. It looked pretty nice. Smell was fairly hoppy, and a little sweet. Sweet grain, actually. Taste was completely different than I had expected based on smell. Bitter citrus hops up front, quickly quelled by sweet, toasted malty flavours. Delicious, actually. I was quite surprised. I liked this more than I thought I would. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, and very smooth and easy drinking. I must say, I'm quite surprised.

SilentSabre, Jan 11, 2007
Photo of nick76
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The aroma is very sweet and syrupy with both chocolate and maple. There is also spices, caramel, and vanilla. The appearance is deep amber with a three finger head. The flavor is like the aroma. There are a lot of good tastes going on but I must admit they come in stages and not always complimentary. The palate is smooth and the finish bitter. Overall a very unique winter beer.

nick76, Mar 02, 2009
Photo of jpro
4.04/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 22oz bomber at Peabody's. Poured into a Highland shaker pint glass...

A: Pours a tea-like amber; maybe some reddish hues in there; one-finger, light tan head manages a thin layer of creamy retention, but doesn't leave much lace.

S: First thing that hits is vanilla; has a bit of a cream soda character to it; a little nutty; cinnamon. Interesting... very different than most winter beers!

T: Wow - that cream soda esque flavor is pretty big; a touch of hazelnut - a bit of rind toward the finish; minimal bitterness afforded by some leafy hop flavor.

M: Medium mouthfeel; moderate carbonation.

O: Very different than most winter ales or winter warmers; sweet spices and not much alcohol (relatively speaking) make it really stand out. Would pair nicely with some pumpkin or pecan pie. Next year...

jpro, Jan 25, 2013
Photo of badbeer
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark red color with an off-white head that retains well and gives good lacing. Wonderful smells of cinnamon, clove, allspice, nutmeg, and caramel. I'm digging the taste. It's got a little bit of hoppyness for balance, but this mostly tastes like cinnamon-sugar bread with a little bit of allspice and a caramel finish. Carbonation is on the higher side and body is bordering light. I'm very happy with this beer and will need to get more of it next winter. Great job, Highland!

badbeer, Dec 28, 2008
Photo of chinchill
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2012 12 oz bottle served in a snifter. Pours a beautiful, clear mahogany color, with a short-lived beige head. Very sweet aroma is followed by a rather sweet upfront taste but eventually turns mildly bitter. The beer is a mildly spicy and a bit fruity, including raspberry and a surprising apricot note in the nose that's present but subdued in tasting. Cinnamon and plenty of vanilla in both; perhaps too much vanilla in the flavor.

Overall an enjoyable, complex and distinctive seasonal brew.

{9 months later (Sept. 2013) a bottle kept in a cooler is every bit as tasty}.

chinchill, Dec 01, 2012
Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale from Highland Brewing
90 out of 100 based on 555 ratings.